Monday, August 13, 2012

An Isle of Blood Can't Be Good?!

The Isle of Blood (Monstrumologist)
With so many myths and stories of hairy beastlies and mysterious creepers, we all rest a little easier thinking there is a monster hunter (hunt in the biological sense, not the skin and eat sense) out there keeping things together. But when that Monstrumologist is Pellinore Warthrop, you know being his apprentice is going to be adventurous, and seriously dangerous. In Rick Yancey's The Isle of Blood, the third book in the Monstrumologist series, you get to see just how far Warthrop will take his young apprentice, Will Henry.

When a "wild card" colleague of Warthrop's tricks a man into delivering an artifact, a nest made out of human bits, Warthrop realizes he now possesses evidence of the great white whale of Monstrumology. Unfortunately, the highly contagious nature of this nest causes the distraught messenger to succumb to the illness and attack Will Henry. In order to prevent the same fate for Will Henry, Warthrop must do something unthinkable. While he saves Will Henry's life, he can't get past the fact that he has put Will Henry in danger, and as he goes off in search of the greatest monster that ever lived, the Faceless One, he leave Will Henry behind and takes the eager new apprentice who arrived conveniently before this big adventure.

But when the apprentice returns and claims Warthrop is dead, Will Henry refuses to accept the news. He knows his master is alive, and he is willing to go to great lengths to find him. Unfortunately, no one wants to believe a young kid when chances are the Monstrumologist finally succumbed to the very monsters he focuses his life around. Of course, monstrumologists are used to believing in the long shot, and one Will Henry pokes holes through the new apprentice's claims, they are able to get a lead on Warthrop. Where that lead takes them and what they have to do to get there, of course, are the stuff of nightmares. But then again, isn't that the world of Monstrumology?

It amazes me how Yancey can take such a small wisp of an idea and create such a story. A rumor of a beastlie can lead you down a road of visceral trauma and imagination like you never thought you could experience. And the characters? I continue to love them more and more with each passing book. In particular, I love the relationship between Will Henry and Warthrop. Where I could never put my finger on who Warthrop reminded me of, I finally realized it as I was describing the story to my sister... he is Sheldon from "Big Bang Theory"! He is not heartless or uncaring, but rather very clinical and devoted to his work. But when his work poses a threat to Will Henry, he cannot being himself to lose the boy and you get to see glimpses of how much this man truly does love his "adopted" son. He may call Will Henry his apprentice, but the love between father and son is obvious to those of us on the outside looking in, which makes their story even better, in my opinion.

This is truly a magnificent series, and it is perfect for those quirky students who have grown out of typical YA stories. It has a gothic feel to it, but the story transcends anything you have read before. I am excited to hear the publisher was bullied into letting Yancey write a fourth book after trying to stop him at three, and I can't wait to read the final book in the series. Yancey has an imagination that will only twist and warp your own imagination in ways you didn't think possible, so I say, "Let him have it!"

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